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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    December 21, 2012
    8:00 - 10:30pm EST  

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before january. [no audio] >> today president obama vowed
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he would sign a bill before january to extend tax cuts for most americans. his remarks came as congress leaves washington without a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. the president said he hoped any deal to avoid the fiscal cliff would also include and extension of unemployment insurance and lay this is about 7 minutes. >> good afternoon, everybody. for the last few weeks, i have been working with the leaders of both parties on a proposal to get our deficit under control, to avoid tax cuts -- to avoid tax hikes on the middle-class. and to make sure we can spur jobs and economic growth. a balanced proposal that cuts spending, but also ask the wealthiest americans to pay more, a proposal that will strengthen the middle class over the long haul, and our
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economy over the long haul. in the course of these negotiations, i offered to compromise with republicans in congress. i met them halfway on taxes and more than halfway on spending. today, i am still willing to get a comprehensive package done. i still believe that reducing our deficit is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our economy and the confidence of our businesses. i remain committed to working towards that goal, whether it happens all at once, or whether it happens in several different steps. but in 10 days, we face a deadline. in 10 days, under current law, tax rates are scheduled to rise on most americans. and even though democrats and republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go
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up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us, every single one of us, agrees that tax rates should not go up for the other 98% of americans, which includes 97% of small businesses. every member of congress believes that. every democrat. every republican. so there is absolutely no reason not to protect these americans from a tax hike. but the very least, let us agree right now on what we already agree on. let us get that done. i just spoke to speaker boehner and met with senator reid. i have asked congress to work on a package that prevents a tax hike on middle-class americans, protect unemployment insurance for 2 million americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on growth and deficit reduction.
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that is an achievable goal. that can get done in 10 days. once this legislation is agreed to, i expect democrats and republicans to get back to washington and have it passed both chambers. i will immediately signed it into law before january 1 of next year. averting this tax hike is not a democratic or republican responsibility. with their votes, the american people have determined that governing is a shared responsibility between both parties. in this congress, laws can only pass with support from democrats and republicans. and that means nobody gets 100% of what they want. everybody has to give a little bit in a sensible way. we move forward together, or we do not move forward and all.
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so, as we leave town for a few days to be with our families for the holidays, i hope it gives everybody some perspective. everybody can cool off. everybody can drink some eggnog and have some christmas cookies, sing some christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones. i would ask members of congress to think about the obligations we have to the people. think about the hardship that so many people will endure if congress does nothing at all. just as our economy is starting to recover, and we are starting to see optimistic signs -- we have seen up statistics in a range of areas, including housing. this is not the time for self-inflicted wounds, certainly not those coming from washington.
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there is so much to be done on jobs, income, education, and energy. we are a week away from one of the worst tragedies in memory. so we have got work to do on gun safety. a host of other issues. these are all challenges we can meet. these are all colleges we have to meet, if we want our kids to grow up in america that is full of opportunity and possibility, as much opportunity and possibility that our parents and our grandparents left for us. but we are only going to be able to do it together. we are going to have to find some common ground. the challenge we have got right now is that the american people are a lot more sensible and a lot more thoughtful, and much more willing to compromise and give and sacrifice and act responsibly, than their elected representatives are.
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that is a problem. there is a mismatch between how everybody else is thinking about these problems, democrats and republicans up side of this town, and how folks are acting here. we have to get the aligned. and we only have 10 days to do that. i hope every member of congress is thinking about that. nobody can get 100% of what they want. this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who does not. there are real world consequences to what we do here. i want next year to be a year of strong economic growth. i want next year to be a year in which more jobs are created, and more businesses are started, and we are making progress on all the challenges we have out there, some of which we do not have as much control over as we do in terms of shaping a sensible budget.
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this is something within our capacity to solve. it does not take that much work. we just have to do the right thing. so call me an optimist, but i actually still think we can get it done. with that, i want to wish every american a merry christmas. and because we did not get this done, i will see you next week. >> the house did not take up >> after speaking with president obama speaker boehner released a statement saying it's time for the act ready to find a solution that can pass
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both houses of congress. he also spoke to reporters earlier this morning about why his plan b legislation was pulled from the house vote thursday evening whfment asked how to solve the nation's fiscal problems speaker boehner said god only knows. he's fold by other democratic leaders responding to his remarks. >> the house did not take up the tax bill last night because we did not have the votes to pass. it is not the outcome that i wanted. was the will of the house. unless the president and congress take action, tax rates will go up on every american taxpayer and devastating defense cuts will go into effect in 10 days. the house has already passed bills addressing the fiscal cliff. we passed a bill replacing the
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president's sequestered with irresponsible spending cuts. we did that last may. we passed a bill to stop all the tax hikes on the american people scheduled to take effect january 1, and we did that august 1. and we proposed plans over and over again that democrats used to support but now will not. i do not want taxes to go up, republican do not want texas to go up. but we only when the house. democrats continued to run washington. what the president has proposed so far simply will not do anything to solve our spending problems. he wants more spending and more tax hikes that will hurt our economy. and he simply will not deal honestly with entitlement reform and the big issues facing our country. we need significant spending cuts and real tax reform to address our long-term debt problem and pave the way for
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long-term growth and real growth in jobs in our country. we will continue to work with colleagues in the house and senate on a plan that protect families and small businesses from the fiscal cliff. >> i think we saw last night yet again the next chapter in this saga of trying to resolve the situation of the fiscal cliff. it is clear that our conference has been consistent in its commitment to do something about the spending problem in washington and the mounting debt that has resulted. we stand ready to continue in dialog with this president to actually fix the problem. i hope that we see that our colleagues on the other side of the capitol can do likewise to get serious to address the real problem of spending so that we
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can get on about the business of growing economy and getting people back to work. >> a lot of the arguments that you made in favor last night of multitrillion dollar tax cuts that rescue millions of taxpayers from a tax increase, are you willing to [inaudible] the president and i had a series of conversations. i told president these were my bottom lines. the president told me his numbers, $1.30 trillion in new revenues, $850 billion in spending cuts, was his bottom line. he could not go any further. so we see a situation where, because of the political divide in the country, because of the divide here in washington, trying to bridge the differences has been difficult.
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if it were easy, i guarantee this would have been done decades before, but we have to find a way to address this significant spending problem that we have come and we need to find a way through tax reform to begin to grow our economy in a way that will create more jobs for our country. >> what is the path forward? are you going to be speaking with the president [inaudible] are you willing to put a vote on the floor >> there is no senate bill that has come to the house. as you know, the senate bill had a problem and continues to sit in the senate. we do not have a senate bill. we do have a house bill that sits in the senate at extended tax rates for all americans. we have been waiting since august for the senate to act.
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if the senate wants to act on that bill, we will certainly take a look at it. >> >> i am interested in solving the major problems that face our country. that means house leaders, senate leaders, and the president are going to continue to have to work together to address those concerns. naught naught>> i have not given consideration to it. we have a spending problem. we have to address it. we are not going to address it by kicking the can down the road, which is what you are suggesting.
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naught naught [inaudible] are you quitting? >> absolutely not. i am proud of what we've done. what mr. cantor outlined last night was that the house would come back, if needed. we are prepared to come back, if needed. >> mr. speaker, it sounds like you are walking away from the talks. >> i did not say that. nobody ought to read anything into this. we have differences, but the country has been expanding problems. we have to get serious about addressing them. [inaudible] >> listen, the president knows i have always been able to deliver on any promise i have made with him. the concern that i had was that
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time was running short. the idea that taxes would go up on every american taxpayer i thought was wrong. trying to address the tax issue, i thought, was important to do it now, so that we do not have taxes go up on every american and hurt our economy. [inaudible] >> sure did. >> what went wrong? >> listen, there was a perception created that that vote last night was going to increase taxes. i disagree with that characterization of the bill, but that impression was out there. we had a number of our members who just really did not want to be perceived as having raised taxes. that was the real issue. one of my colleagues the other night had an analogy of 100 people drowning in a pool, and
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that he was a lifeguard. because he could not save any of them, does that mean that he should not have done anything? his point was, if i can go in there and save 99 people that are drowning, that is what i should do as a lifeguard. but the perception was out there and a lot of our members did not want to deal with it. [inaudible] are you willing to pass a bill with majority of democratic support at this time? >> we have passed a bill and is sitting in the senate. we passed a bill to deal with the sequester. at some point the united states senate has to do something. what we were trying to do this week was to basically jumpstart and try to kick into gear some action by the senate to avert
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these tax increases go into effect january 1. >> with all due respect, what impact do you think pretty of the bipartisan grand bargain that you could check with president obama could have on >> at some point we have to [inaudible] address the spending problem we have, but we can now cut our way to prosperity. we need real economic growth. many believe on both sides of the aisle at the fundamental reform of our tax code will help get our economy moving faster and put more americans back to work. and more americans with tax credit. how we get there, i do not know. all i know that we are committed to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the capital and white house, to address this. >> last week, i ask you if you were concerned about losing the speakership.
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in light of what happened last night, if you're not concerned, should you be? >> no, i am not. you have all heard me say this. i have told my colleagues. if you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen. while we have not been able to get the votes to avert 99.8% of the tax increases, i do not think -- they were not taking that out on me. they are dealing with a perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes. merry christmas, everyone. thank you.
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>> good afternoon. for weeks we have been saying that christmas is coming and time is growing short. now christmas is upon us. there is very little time left but there is still a chance, there is still a chance to reach an agreement that is balanced and that is fair t. cht made concessions in his -- more concessions in his latest proposal which we hope republicans will consider it so we can iron out further differences and bring it to the floor. president obama moved closer to the republicans on tax rates and said in terms of spending cuts, he said he was willing to
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make more spending cuts. contrary to representations about his position that you may have heard. every time we are close to a solution, whether it was a year and a half ago in the summer or right now, the republicans walk away. when we thought we were close this week, republicans decided to follow another path, a path that led them over the cliff, a root in which they did not have the votes. but that was then, this is now. let's go back to the negotiation table. we have no right to walk out the door of congress with no clear path to a resolution of this challenge. it's time to get back on track. it's time to get back to the negotiating table to grow jobs, grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and reduce the deficit and do so in a
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responsible way. we can and we must get the job done now. i'm pleased to yield to the distinguished democratic gentleman. >> i thank the leader for her comments, and certainly agree with her. last night's vote showed us the resolving the challenge of the fiscal cliff cannot and will not be done with a partisan vote. it showed us that we must work together in a bipartisan way, he and that we must preclude going over the fiscal cliff, by a balanced agreement that democrats and republicans him support, the president can sign, and that can pass the senate. we should not seek taxes go up on working-class americans. we should not see doctors put a risk in terms of their delivery of services to seniors.
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we should not see the alternative minimum tax and put at risk. we need to lend confidence to our country. some years ago, he confronted partisan gridlock. newt gingrich and bill clinton got together to reach an agreement it was very controversial. newt gingrich said -- this is october 20, 1998. "i will say to each and every member of this house, unless they have a plan they think can get 218 votes over here, can pass through a filibuster in the senate, and get signed, there is no responsible vote except yes." america expects its congress to get to yes. we are prepared to work with
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the speaker and with the republican leadership. we all need to be willing to work with the president of united states to get to yes, for our country and for our constituents. now, and want to yield to my very dear friend, the assistant leader of the democratic caucus, my friend jim clyburn, from south carolina. >> think you very much, representative hoyer. last year, when the tea party republicans stymied the efforts of the deficit reduction committee that we called "the supercommittee," we said at the time that it would take a definitive election to decide the matter. november 6, the american people spoke. the american people spoke very clearly, and i think decisively.
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president obama has won all but one of the soda ash called swing states. he won a landslide victory in the electoral college, and he won the popular vote by more than 4.5 million votes. democrats in the senate added to their numbers, and won a popular vote margin of 56-44. and here in the people's house, more than 1.5 million more americans voted for democrats then voted for republicans. the american people have spoken loud and clear, yet the republican leadership continues to exercise extreme partisanship, in defiance of the will of the people.
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i am hopeful that the spirit of the season will take hold over the next several days, and we can come back here after christmas with less partisan extremism, and work together to achieve honorable compromises that will arrest the widening wealth step and create more fear of violence approaches to address in our nation's most urgent charges. with that, i would like to yield to our distinguished and vice chair, from new york. >> in politics, it is not a zero sum game. the least, that is my belief. it ought not be. we need to work together. there is no partisan path toward a solution.
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every solution facing our nation's problems must be done in a bipartisan way. that means that neither side gets 100% of what they are looking to achieve. what we saw last night was really an abdication of the process. the president has been working in good faith with speaker boehner, continues to what to do that. it is my hope we can come back to the table and continue to work with the president to work out a solution. what we have seen is something we have observed from our side of the aisle for the last four years. the republican caucus, whether the minority or majority, refused to work with our side of the aisle. the people of this election spoke otherwise. they want to see us working together. they want to see us lead him to the 113 congress, working in a more bipartisan way. i would like to turn it over to
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the ranking member of the budget committee, an ally in the fight for the american people. >> thanks, and it is great to be here with our colleagues. this morning, speaker boehner said the following. the house did not take up the tax bill last night because we did not have the votes to pass it. it is not the outcome of wanted. the was the will of the house. that is what speaker banner said from this podium this morning. what we are doing today is calling upon the speaker to put something on the floor of the house that can pass the house. it should be a bipartisan bill,
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onto the floor of the house, and let the house worked its will. the house has said no to speaker boehner's plan b. it is time to say yes to a balanced, compromised bill. at the very least, the speaker should take up the bill the senate has already passed on a bipartisan basis, so we can do that right away. there is nothing to stop the speaker from taking up that bill tomorrow or any day. nothing in the law. nothing in the rules of the house. if he takes it up, he will allow the house to work its will on that particular bill. we call upon the speaker to allow the house to work its will, as it did last night in saying no to plan b. this house will say yes, we believe, to a bipartisan, compromise bill. we believe it will say yes to the senate-passed bill that is already pending. with that, and when to turn it over to our good friend and colleague.
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>> thank you very much. i have learned in government or politics, when you say, "my way or the highway," you usually end up on the highway. republicans have abdicated their responsibility to get this done. they need to come back to washington. they need to negotiate a compromise, based on what the president put forward. it is time to get to plan c. plan c is compromise, and plan c is comprehensive. we urge our republican colleagues towork on a compromise, the basis of which should be the president's compromise. every time we have offered a compromise, the republicans have gone in the other direction. we were here. they were there. we went this direction. they have left town.
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that is no way to cut a bill that is comprehensive. we urge them to return to washington and avoid the fiscal cliffs. with that, i will turn it back to our leader. >> as the speaker said last night, "the house did not take up the bill because we did not have votes to pass it. it is not the outcome that i wanted." that was not the will of the house. it may have been the will of the caucus. you do not know the will of the house until you bring the bill to the floor. i believe there would be bipartisan support for the $250,000 proposal we have as a discharge petition. i think that is why they did not bring it up. they knew how republicans would vote for it. any questions?
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>> given what happened last night, is there any appetite among the leadership team to tchange proposal and take some things out that your caucus doesn't like? >> i think the best thing to do is to go to the table. the fastest thing to do is to bring it to the floor for consideration. and it up so we can iron out our differences. go to the table so we can iron out our differences. i believe that can be done. when the president came forward with a proposal this week, it was on the strength of how close the president and the speaker had them. the president came closer to the speaker's position, in terms of spending cuts and tax rates.
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every time we agree to changes, they go to a different field altogether. although many of us do not like every aspect of the president's proposal, and if we did, probably the republicans would reject it -- it is a compromise on both sides. that is a good place to start. i believe my colleagues will speak to that. >> if it is pretty clear you were all going to vote against plan b, speaker boehner said this was to avert going off a cliff. if these tax increases passed without a vote, and what to do you think about being so strongly against the vote? >> first of all, we are here for the middle class. this bill was a direct assault
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on the middle class. the idea that the speaker says "i am given additional tax cuts to the wealthiest in the country, while i raise taxes on the middle-class," i do not think that is a good idea. >> the bill had no chance of passage through the united states senate and was not going to be signed by the president of the united states. we were concerned that we were wasting a 72 to 120 hours at a time when the clip confronts us in just a few days, and action on behalf of working americans is essential. in order for action to occur -- that is why i referred to mr. gingrich. we have to have a bill that can get to the senate and be signed by the president.
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we did not want to waste another 96 hours, so i am pleased that this was defeated. it was defeated not on the house floor, but in the republican conference. apparently, a pretty heated conference. i would urge the speaker to again and sit with president obama and reached a compromise that will be a reasonable one, and that confront the fiscal challenge that confronts our country, which is what this has been about, and to confront doing things essential to do between now and january 2. nobody wants the sequest tore go into place or unemployment to lapse for those who are relying on it to support themselves and the other aspects that you know about that need to be addressed. so i think the oppositionwas that a partisan bill was being put forward, a partisan
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bill that does more to give republicans a place to stand them it was legislation that would give relief to america. >> i think it is very important for us to really take a look at what was being proposed. if my reading is correct, and i am no expert on these matters, but i can tell you i read that the sequester was being postponed or gotten rid of in this proposal. by getting rid of all the deductions. by cutting food stamps. by getting rid of unemployment. this is a strange time of year to be making those kinds of proposals.
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those of the things we were objecting to. we want this to be fair and balanced, and i do not think it is fair to balance this budget are in the back of those people who can ill afford those kinds of cuts. >> taking it to the point he did, about the tax cuts in the reconciliation bill on the floor, it was a terrible combination. it is like a reverse robin hood. you are giving a $50,000 tax cut to people making over a million dollars a year, at a cost of $1,000 to middle income taxpayers, because of changes in the law that affected them. at the same time, the have a reconciliation bill that says 20 million children would have reduced nutrition and food benefits.
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and 1.4 million seniors would not have meals on wheels. the list goes on and on. when people say, why can't you come to agreement? if you want to come to agreement, you can. but if you are coming close to agreement and you start taking food out of the mouths of babies and seniors to give tax cuts to the wealthiest and tax bills to the middle class, as well as keeping hundreds of billions of dollars on the national debt, because we do not believe in government, it is hard to come to agreement. i believe there are enough republicans who do want to reach a solution. that is why we are hopeful that something can happen. >> the nra press conference -- >> we will come back to that.
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>> do you believe there are 122 republicans who are willing to vote for a deal that democrats and the president can back? and what other concessions are democrats in the house willing to put on the table? >> in return for what? >> 120 republicans. >> the package is the package. it is not about us. it is what it means to the great middle class. when we did the much talked about iraq vote, there were 86 democrats, over 140 democrats voting against. that is 60% of my caucus against what i brought to the floor. 120 is not the number. the number is, what does it mean to middle income families?
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>> the president has already met the republicans more than halfway. i think people who have been following these negotiations recognize the president has already moved remarkably over a short time. remember that he originally proposed a revenue of 1.6 trillion dollars. people who have been following the conversation now that is less revenue than proposed by the bipartisan simpson-bowles commission. the president got that from 1.6 trillion dollars to $1.20 trillion. the president has significantly increased cuts he is willing to make. that comes on top of one trillion dollars in cuts as part of the budget control out. and even higher number, if you look at cuts taken over the
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last year, including some very controversial provisions that many of us in our caucus have serious reservations about. it is indication of the fact the president is able to meet the republicans more than half way. i think the president has struck the balance. i think the speaker should bring up the bill like the. it is parents and compromise. leader pelosi did when she was speaker of the house. with a bill that dealt with the iraq war -- these are big, national moments. the full house should be able to work its will, democrats and republicans together. it is important the speaker put the good of the country above republican house caucus politics. >> just one more on this, because we have to go to work.
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>> characterized the offer is heat and the president traded last week as their bottom line. he has gone as far as he can go. >> are you talking about the next proposal? this is so out of context for me, i do not know. i think we can come to the table, iron out differences. that is how we will find everybody's bottom line. the bottom line is that the american people are working today. where is the congress? why have we not finish this task? we have had a week after week of two-day sessions. no, people are leaving. nobody knows what is going on, in terms of the schedule. we are coming to the end of the line, in terms of this year.
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we have to get it done. we have to avoid downgrading our credit rating. we have to avoid cuts to our investments in the future -- infrastructure, education. those kind of investments bring more money to the treasury. the conversation i have had with the president last night, i know he believes we must avoid the cliff, and we need to get something done. i cannot explain to anybody what the path the republicans took this week was about. how was that about? what were they trying to prove? first, they had the $250,000 that would be on the floor. i thought republicans would vote for it. that is why they pulled it.
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then, they have this $1 million plant, this $50,000 christmas gift to people making over $1 million a year, paid for by a $1,000 increase to the middle-class. when the president asked the leader, what is the mood? how you see this from your perspective? i say to him what i say to you. i do not know what their bottom line is. i do not know if they know what their bottom line is. it would be interesting for them to tell you. the bottom line is what i just described in the bill yesterday. $50,000 if you make over $1 million. if you are a senior on meals and wheels or a child who needs access to nutrition, for no sgr, which is the ticket for seniors to have access to medicare -- it is not responsible. and it is not clear to see what the path might lead. i still have confidence that
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the speaker and some in the caucus who have ideology and doctrinaire approaches, when you come to the table, you have a responsibility to legislate. try to influence the decision the best you can, but to find a solution. >> my question is about the nra. wayne lapierre called on congress to pass legislation to put armed guards in every school. do any of you think that is a good idea? >> i think it is an incredibly false notion to think that simply by having armed guards in our schools, somehow that will deter someone who is dead
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on trying to take a only the lives of other people, but themselves as well. i think it is the opposite direction the american people want us to move him. as pertains to the issue of guns and who has access to them, as well as the mental health issues we are facing -- i think we need to look at this in a more rational way. i think the way the nra is approaching this is irrational. i think the american people understand that. they were expecting a completely different response. i think what we are looking for from the nra is a more collaborative approach. what can you bring? what can you talk about that will move the country forward? >> i do not believe those
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remarks represent anywhere near a significant portion of america. i do not believe, frankly, that they represent the majority of views of responsible members of the national rifle association. the one guns to hunt. they want guns to protect their home of their house. the recommendation of an arms escalation in america is not, i think, a solution the american people believe i am very hopeful that we will go in a direction which will say that these weapons of mass killing capability will be limited. magazines will be limited. we will make sure that people who have access to dangerous
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weapons in fact are mentally healthy, to the extent that we can get there. i do not think those remarks, which i think or unfortunate, represent even the majority of his own members. i would be surprised if that were the case. this certainly do not represent the views of the overly majority of the american public. >> i was in the funeral service for a senator inouye and when those remarks were made. i did not hear them. he did say one way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun. escalation is not a positive force. we know this is complicated. we know that 90% of people who have been diagnosed or have a
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mental illness do not engage in violent activity. all of a sudden, we are saying it is people with mental illness responsible for this. no, they aren't. that does not mean we should not care for those with mental illness. that is why we passed the mental-health parity bill, and have, in the affordable care act, parity for mental illness. it is very important. for the nra and others to sort of shield themselves by saying it is the mentally ill, and therefore we need to have more armed cops in the schools, or more guns in the school -- will we have it on the teacher's desk? or, wait a minute. i have it locked up some place and go and get it? this does not make sense.
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we have to reduce violence. we need a reduction of violence in our society. the challenge we have in looking at mental illness, we co-sponsored legislation to build high-capacity assault magazines that enables somebody to have 30 shots instead of 10. that seems like a lot to me, but at least it gives somebody a fighting chance. to look at an assault weapons ban -- all these things are being considered. maybe and injured vietnam vet could channel the energy of our caucus. i met with his and violence
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community the other night. you know what it all came back to? we understand about youth violence and the rest, but you have to get rid of these high-performance guns. magazines. whatever you call them. i called them a clip once, adn they told me i didn't know what i was talking about. they are a magazine. we are making all these cuts in samsa, where mental-health illness is addressed. they need to be addressed, in addition to the influence on gun violence. we need to address violence in our society, in the glorification of it in some places.
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we have to address the actual issue of how do we give a fair chance. if anyone of us and everyone of you had a chance to pull that magazine out of the hands of the shooter to protect those kids, he would do it. we have the opportunity to do it not only physically, but legislatively, to take that out of the hands. you know congressman ron barbour, who was congresswoman giffords' assistant and was wounded that day. he has had 20 years of experience working in the community. he understands the gun violence issue and thinks the only way to keep the high-performance magazines out of the hands of people with mental health challenges is to keep them out of the hands of everyone. i look forward to reading the full statement.
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chris murphy came out of the funeral and this is what he twisted. he comes out of the district of newtown. "walking out of another funeral, i was handed the nra transcript, the most revolting, tone-deaf statement i have ever seen. walking out of another funeral, i was handed the nra transcript, the most revolting, tone-deaf statement i have ever seen." thank you all very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> next senate ma'amty leader
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rarry reid and mcconnell speak. the minority leader proposed taking up legislation that passed to extend all of the bush era tax rates. this is about 15 minutes. >> last night the house of representatives approved what we've known for quite a while. speaker boehner's plan to raise taxes on 25 million middle class taxpayers while handing out $50,000 bonuses to millionaires and billionaires was dead on arrival which we said that yesterday which we knew the so-called plan b was no plan at all. it count pass the senate or house. it's too bad senator boehner wasted a week in this stunt.
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at least now house republicans have gotten the message loud and clear that comprehensive solution to the looming fiscal cliff will need to be a bipartisan solution. no comprehensive solution can pass without democrat and republican votes. which means any solution will have to ask to us pay a little more to reduce the deficit and ensure we don't go to the brink of default. nothing that has passed the house of representatives fits that test. a few days ago president obama and speaker boehner viewed poised to strake a grand bargain. we've heard that before. instead of making hard choices of compromising as president obama has been willing to do, the speaker retreated to his corner and resorted to
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political stunts. but that stunt fell flat. it's time for the speaker and all republicans to return to the negotiating table. we've never left mr. president. it's time for republicans to work with us to find the middle ground. that's the only hope of averting the impact of the fiscal cliff. mr. president, the fiscal cliff needs to be avoided. in the meantime the speaker should bring the middle class tax cut passed by the senate five months ago to the floor of the house for a vote. we know it would pass. all he has to do is let democrats vote with some republicans, it will pass. the clock is ticking until the nation goes over the fiscal cliff and taxes go up for every family in america. but there is still time for the speaker to hit the breaks and avoid that cliff. we don't need the projection over that cliff. the senate passed bill would
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protect 98% of families and 97% of small businesses from tax hikes. that agreement should be comprehensive. if republicans want to ensure american families taxes don't go up on january 1, they should pass the senate bill. the only reason speaker boehner hasn't brought the bill to the floor sooner is because he knew it would pass. americans are not fooled by the speaker's proceed yours for failing to bring this for a vote. they expect action. let me be very plain. there is nothing preventing the speaker from taking up our bill and giving americans certainty. this isn't a game or about putting wins on the board. there will be serious consequences for millions of
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families if congress fails to act and there will be serious results if congress fails to compromise. it is time for the house, especially the house republicans to remember what is at stake. i repeat $250,000 program would passover whemingly in the house. it's up to the speaker to let that vote occur. >> mr. president, the republican leader, most people are focused today on what happened last night over in the house. i'd like to focus on a press conference that was held just a
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few hours earlier. here were the leaders in the democratic party here in the senate, other than the president, these are the folks t with the greatest responsibility for protecting people from a massive tax hike coming in january. whand did they do? they stood in front of the cameras and laughed. they giggled at a bunch of bad jokes and told the american people they didn't plan to do anything this week, nothing, absolutely nothing. democrats in the house vowed they wouldn't vote for this bill. the majority leader vowed he would ignore it if it made it out of the house and landed in the senate and the president vowed he would veto it if it made it out of the senate. so they spent all day yesterday defeating a bill that would make tax rates permanent for 98% of americans and they laughed about it.
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ten days to go until the fiscal cliff and they laughed about it. i don't know if anybody has looked at a calendar here lately but we're about out of time here. this isn't >> this isn't john boehner's problem to solve. he bent over backwards. how about rallying your caucus to rally around a solution.
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this is a moment that calls for presidential leadership. that is the way out of this, it is that simple. does anybody wonder why we go from crisis to crisis around here? anybody notice a pattern? this was was an opportunity. once again the president ignored it. he held rallies and gave presidential speeches after he was re-elected. as i said yesterday, i think it was obvious that i think the president wants to go over the cliff. if republicans won't propose it, if drts won't propose it, i will.
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we can bring up this house-passed bill. if the majority leader has a plan that gets 60 votes in the senate, break through the disarray in his own caucus and build bipartisan support, offer that as an amendment and let's vote. let vote on amendments from all sides. then let's go to conference with the house of the representatives they have already passed a bill that i support and reformed the tax code. why don't we take it up here and let's get this done. it's called legislating. that is what we used to do in congress.
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mr. president, i yield the floor. >> the majority leader. >> mr. president, if this weren't such a serious situation that we face ourselves it would be laughable. can you imagine saying that we should defeat a bill that we already defeated? we voted on the proposal, the same time we voted to pass that protecting middle-class americans. that passed the senate. one that gives the richest of the rich for the breaks they get, as i indicated a proposal for another $50,000 for each of them was defeated here. it was defeated in the senate. so my friend and he is my friend
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, the republican leader is struggling to find a way to blame democrats and it is a struggle. blaming us for the failure of the republicans to pass a bill in the house. the house is led by republicans. right now he controls the house by a wide margin. i served in the house. the speaker is all powerful in the house. to blame us for that travesty that took place over there, mr. president, that is pretty incredible. as i try to say in my remark here, mr. president, could we at least protect the middle class?
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my friend complains that the president haven't done enough. he put forward a proposal that has received criticism from democrats because he was too generous with speaker boehner. but the president believes as he said several times, both sides have to make hard choices. the president released a balance $2.4 trillion program. it is pretty good. it would avoid the fiscal cliff, it would allow the s.g.r. to continue, patients would have a doctor to go, it extends unemployment benefits to people who are desperate. it is true there is a crisis here but it's because of house republicans refuse to pass the senate-passed tax bill.
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it is because republicans in the house are fighting among themselves. the republican leader ceased to pay the tax bill. the real answer lies in the speaker who controls the house of representatives, talking to the president, and working things out. >> the republican leader. >> all i was suggesting that is you have a tax bill that originated in the house, it came over to the senate, if our friends in the majority don't like that version of it, call it up, amend it and see if there is a majority in the senate for something. the time for finger pointing, seems to me, about over. american people are not interested in what originated here or there, they are interested in getting a result.
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i was trying to be helpful and suggesting that you have a tax bill that came from the house, off majority here, take it up and offer an amendment to see if it can offer a majority of the senate rather than just complaining because the house didn't pass something yesterday. that is not going to solve the problem. we need to find a way forward here and i hope can fine something. >> i hope we can too. this is quite remarkable. i'm told that memories from this body went and talked to the republican caucus and said send us to plan b and the democrats will take care of you and send you something back that you like better. we can all see what has happened in the press, now i like john
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boehner. but gee whiz, this is a pretty big political battering he is taking. what he should do is allow a vote in the house of representatives on a bipartisan bill. it will pass. democrats will vote for it, some republicans will vote for it, that is what we're supposed to do. he's trying to pass everything with that majority that he has that can't agree on anything, among themselves. bring in the democrats, that is what the country was set up. our founding fathers set it up that way. he wants some other method where everything was done by a slim majority that they have. this is absolutely incredible, mr. president, and we believe that the speaker should be concerned. i'm confident that he is. maybe he's more concerned as some have said, about his election to be returned as
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speaker. he should be more concerned about what is going to happen to the country. if he showed leadership and walked out there and said this is the right thing for the country, we're all going to vote on this, democrats would vote on it, republicans would vote on it and take us away from the fiscal cliff. this brinkenship and this sillyness that is going on that you wouldn't do in 8th grade government. >> i would only add the time for finger pointing is running out here. american people know we have a senate, they know we have a house, and they know we have a president. they are waiting to see if we solve this problem by the end of the year. >> next on c-span president obama's nomination john kerry for secretary of state. followed by the benghazi attack
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in libya. tomorrow on "washington journal" we will look at the so-called fiscal cliff with washington times political either it followed by a discussion by house republicans and speaker boehner's negotiations on the fiscal cliff. then a look back at the columbine shootings and lessons learned in the newtown, connecticut shooting. "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern here on c-span. >> what is the most important issue he should consider in 2013? >> if you're in grade 6 through 12 make a short video about your message to the president. >> with your chance to win the grand prize of $5,000 and there
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are $50,000 in total prices. for more information go to student cam.org. >> today president obama nominated senior massachusetts senator john kerry to be secretary of state. senator kerry is a vietnam war veteran and chairman of the foreign relations committee. he was also the 2004 presidential nominee. this is under 10 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone.
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when i took office our nation was engaged in two wars and all qaeda was entrenched in their safe havens. many of our alliances were afraid. for the past four years we have begun a new era of american leadership. we ended the war in iraq, put the al qaeda on the path to defeat and we're winding down the war in afghanistan. we strengthened our alliances and stood up for human dignity. we still, of course, face great challenges. today, i can say with pride that the united states is safer, stronger, and more respected in the world. in this work i've been grateful for an extraordinary national security team. one of the most important people
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in this whole transformation has been our outstanding secretary of state, my friend, secretary hillary clinton. hilary wanted very much to be here today but she continues to recooperate. i had a chance to talk to her earlier today and she is in good spirits and could not be more excited about the announcement i'm making. over the last four years she has been everywhere in terms of her travels and she has represented america in more countries than any other secretary of state. she is looking forward getting back to work and i am looking forward to paying tribute to her service in the days to come. today, i'm looking ahead to my second term. i'm proud toll announce my choice for america's next secretary of state, john kerry. john's entire life has prepared
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him for this role. he has a deep respect for the men and women of the state department. for the role i they play in advancing our values and the risk they undertake and the sacrifices they make along with their families. having served in vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use america power wisely, especially our military power. he knows from personal experience that when we send our troops in the harm's way we must give them strategy, their mission, and the resources to get the job done? an extraordinary distinguished senate career, john has play an essential role in every debate for nearly 30 years. as we turn to page on a decade of war he understands that we have to harness all elements of america's power and make sure
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they are working together, economic, political, our intelligence. as john has said, we were an competitional nation not because we say we are because we do exceptional thing. john helps to lead the way along with john mccain. when he returned to the country where so many others fought so long it was a powerful message of progress and appeal. over these many years john has earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world. hest not going to need a lot of on-the job training. he has earned the respect and trust of his colleagues of democrats and republicans i think it is fair to say that few individuals know as many presidents or prime ministers as
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john kerry. this makes him a perfect choice to guide america's dip employee macy in the years to come. on a personal level, john has been a great friend. i've called on his atlantas on several occasions -- talents on several occasions. each time he has been exemptly. i also have to say thanks because he invited the young senator to address the convention in boston. i was proud to serve with him on the foreign relations committee under the tutelidge of joe biden where we all became friends. of course, nothing brings two people closer together than weeks of debate prep.
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john, i'm looking forward to working with you instead of debating you. finally, i want to thank her. she came to america as an immigrant and she represents what america is. she understands how we can advance in our partnerships. i have to say, i think, i speak for john and joe and myself, we just left daniel inouye's funeral, a man who represents the best of the senate. i know it won't be easy to leave the senate that you love, john. i think it is fair to say there are going to be great challenges ahead. an uncertain world will continue to test our nation.
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but even with all the challenges that we face, i have never been more confident, more optimistic than if we act with wisdom and with purpose and if we're guided by our values and we mind us what binds us together as americans, the united states will continue to lead in this world for our lifetimes. john, i'm grateful that you agreed to take on this new assignment. i'm confident that the senate will confirm you quickly. i guess you won't be able to appear and preside at the same time so we'll have to figure out how that works. i know you will be an outstanding secretary of state. thanks so much. congratulations.
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>> mr. president, fiscal cliff, is there going to be a deal? >> also on capitol hill today, republican senators talked about a recent state department talked about the attack in benghazi. senior officials testified to congress on thursday about the attack that led to the death of u.s. ambassador chris stevens. senators mccain and graham talked about the nomination of john kerry to be secretary of state. this is about half an hour.
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>> good afternoon, i am joined by other senators to comment on the tragedy surrounding benghazi. it has been more than three months after the attack that killed four americans, including the ambassador. the american people are beginning to get the answers they deserve, but there are more relevant questions that still need to be answered. the report of the state department's accountability review board is a serious and credible effort that identifies failures of officials and institutions in the department. several people have lost their jobs. it is a good start, but only a
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start. the tragedy raised other serious questions about our military, intelligence community, and perhaps most importantly the administration's so-called light footprint approach to libya. it does not provide answers to these questions because it never asked them. eight is essential for the department to conduct an accountability effort on the occasion of the worst terrorist attack in american history of repeated attacks on u.s. and western interests in benghazi. why were no units postured, alert, and ready to respond to what should have been a foreseeable contingency, one in which two of the four people who lost their lives were killed in the seventh hour of the attack? this raises questions that the pentagon and the defense
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department must consider. what greater world the we need the military to play a defense of personnel overseas, especially in the broader middle east that has been never more unsettled? what is the right military posture for forces in the region? what do we need them to do? conversations about the military and defense right now, are mostly about budgets and numbers. it is important to talk more about objectives, strategy, and policies since the attack in benghazi could represent a kind of new normal in our dangerous world. the defense department needs to answer these questions. i might add in the authorization bill we added authorization for 1000 additional marines to be used to protect our installations, diplomatic installations overseas. it is essential for the community to conduct a similar arb-type effort.
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why did it take more than a week for the eye witnesses' accounts to reach our analysts put these witnesses could have told them in minutes there was no protest at our consulate, a conclusion that in the absence of this information to took our intelligence community nearly two weeks to confirm on its own? the congress created the 9/11 commission to fix these problems. perhaps we need another round of reforms. perhaps most important questions that still need to be answered are after the fall of gaddafi, why did the administration not do more to support libyan friends and partners as an outcry that affiliated terrorist groups established sanctions in eastern libya? that remains the fact on the ground today. it directly implicates u.s.
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national security interests, and that is the real explanation of why for americans lost their lives in benghazi. a pattern of violent activity in eastern libya was well-documented for the entire year leading up to the attacks of september 11, 2012, and yet the administration did too little to support our libyan partners who were grateful for america's help in the fight for liberation who elected a pro-american government in july, who sought greater u.s. assistance to treat their wounded, train their national security forces come to secure their borders, build their democratic institutions, and expand the rule of law. libyans did not want al qaeda militias running amok in large parts of the country. that is the reality we now face. this is the broader failure of the administration's so-called life footprint approach toward libya.
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regardless of whom the president nominates to serve in his cabinet, we will continue to ask these questions and demand answers and accountability. i would like to concur with senator mccain. i thought the report was very detailed and the recommendations good and solid in terms of how to better understand the intelligence and run it, how to improve security on the ground, and there is much we can learn from this report. here is what we do know -- we know nothing about president obama before, during, and after the attack. they're making two movies about his use of in the bin laden rate, and he deserves that. it was well executed and the president deserves great credit for making that call. we cannot live in a world where he only gets credit no scrutiny. what did he do for the seven hours in question?
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we have photos of him a commanding the situation in the bin laden rate. we know very little about the role he played during the seven hours of the attack. why did the president himself as late as 25 september claimed the attack was related to a hateful video? why did he continue to suggest that this was a demonstration spawned by a video that led to a ride well beyond that was possible? that was no longer a plausible story. president know about that decreasing security environment? was he told about the attacks on the conflict of which he told about the 16 august cable where the investor said if he is attacked we cannot defend this place. what did the president know
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about the security environment in libya before the attack? during the attack, what orders did they make, why were they not carried out? and afterward, why did he pushed a story line that was misleading? as to ambassador rice, after this report, i hope the american people will understand that the story she told on 15 september was completely out of line with reality on the ground, and i believe firmly now more than ever that the story she told on five national television shows was more of a political story than informing the american people. the talking points -- who changed the talking points? he took out references to al qaeda? al qaeda references are all over the rim original report and all over the cables coming out of libya and tripoli. when she said security at the
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consulate was substantial, and strong, that was the furthest thing from the truth and the report verifies that. the president said she did not know anything about it. she said take it up with him. i thought that was an odd response. if you look at any of the intelligence, she would have seen a deteriorating environment. if you paid any attention you would have understood what the conclusions were reached in this report, that the environment was deteriorating months before, and on september 11, the last cable talks about how the militias warned the american government,
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"why does the american government continue to support jabril? we will not be able to provide you with viable security." that was a well-known fact in the last cable of september 11, the morning before the attack. as to secretary clinton, to those who suggest she is dodging her responsibilities because she is sick, that is inappropriate. i think secretary clinton has been ill, suffered a concussion, and she will testify. when her day to testify comes, she should testify as a sitting secretary of state. she needs to be asked. there was no interview in preparing this report. she needs to be asked about what she knew about the deteriorating terms dances in benghazi. the 16 august cable? was he informed about the rise of calcutta militias with that is only fair and appropriate. finally, as to funding, that is not an issue.
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it was said that funding was not a problem. the ranking member of the foreign office of preparations of committees made available money in iraq to help anywhere in the world in the 2012 -- it took $20 million to spend in tripoli. we added $33 million with the understanding you could use it anywhere. i worry about future funding cuts. that is something we should be aware of when we did the budget negotiations, that we cannot leave our people in a bad spot. on september 11, two dozen top, funding was not an issue. this was inevitable. the people on the ground were telling us we are going to get killed. they had two options. stop doing their job or just press on the best they
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could. if anybody knows chris stevens, the last thing in the world he would do is give up. people questioned whether he should have been there on september 11, given the security environment. if you knew him like i know him, that is the place he had to be. a place where it would make a difference. the bush administration has said many things about iraq that were not accurate. john and i pushed back when we needed to. we pushed back here because you cannot allow any administration to get the glory of god operations and not accept the blame that comes when things go badly. it is not that blamed that we are trying to assign to a specific person. i tried to learn. i am trying to correct. the bush administration eventually corrected failed policies.
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if this administration does not change their strategic view of how to engage in the middle east, or benghazis will follow. there was no libyan government to outsourced security to. these militias were angry at anybody who was looking at benghazi with a critical eye at all could understand what our people on the ground were telling washington. we were outsourcing security to a nonexistent government. we were pushing the theme of leading from behind to a fault. i think is fair to say that president bush sometimes went into strong without thinking of the consequences. i think it is fair to say that we are taking a back seat at a time of critical need for the world without thinking about the consequences. mr. president, the strategy you are employing of trying to lead from behind is allowing the mid east to blow up before our eyes.
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you need to engage based on reality. the reality is iraq is falling apart. if you do not do something there soon, the same thing that happened in libya is want to happen in iraq and other places throughout the world. >> thank you. i want to also echo the comments of my colleagues. i appreciated the work done on the accountability review board report. there was substantial work done on this and we need to work on a bipartisan basis to amend the recommendations, as soon as we can to make sure that our facilities around the world are secure. let's make sure we remember some of the most top-line findings, that there was a failure of leadership within the state department that contributed to what happened on september 11, that the security of the
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consulate was grossly inadequate, and that this report the early discredits the administration's narrative almost two weeks after the attack on the consulate in saying that this was the result of a spontaneous protest in response to a heinous video. those responsive, if you think about the at what the administration said two weeks later, it was not just ambassador rice who talk about that on a sunday tv shows. oxon tender 18, at september 20, the president of the united states connected these attacks to the video despite clear evidence from the beginning from those who were on the ground that that was not the case. there are substantial questions that remain. the question that i have that echoes the questions of my colleagues are, we have seen with this report that already we have had one resignation from the state department, we have three that are on administrative
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leave. this is all at the under secretary level, and is incredibly important. one of the issues that this report finds is that there is an integration problem within the state department, of communicating, and that comes from the top leadership at the state department. it is critical we not only hear from secretary clinton, but also make sure we heard from the other deputies yesterday to make sure we understand was she aware of the deteriorating security situation there, why were there additional steps taken to secure that consulate, and within our intelligence community, we still need a clear accounting of the talking points. i support the effort to do and accountability review with the intelligence community.
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finally i would just say that we need to hold those accountable who committed this terrorist attack. we have not yet brought anyone to justice who has committed obviously murdered our ambassador and the three brave americans there with him that day. this is an important question as well, that needs to be addressed immediately, and also what investigative resources have been put forward to this? one of the things that has not been discussed is how quickly or the fbi -- i was troubled by how long it took the fbi to get to the scene, and we need to make sure that we are falling back to where we were before september 11 where things get stovepipe within agencies information is not being communicated, and when agencies are not working together. senator mccain pointed out an example, that there were eyewitnesses that it took days
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for us to get information, about what those by witnesses had seen, which would have cleared up a misrepresentation that was made about the reaction to the video from day one. i think those questions have to be answered to make sure that we prevent future attacks like this. >> there will be as we know nominations coming forward for a secretary of defense, a new director of the cia. these questions will be part of that process. they will be part of our obligation as our role of advice and consent. questions? >> you talked about the failure of leadership the report highlights. do you think people above should be held accountable? i know secretary clinton is leading. >> the buck always stops at the top.
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that is the harry truman sign. that is why these additional questions need to be answered, and those who are given the responsibility, as the secretary of the state was, as the director of the cia was, these responsibilities must be placed at the position of responsibility. being a cabinet secretary or secretary of state or secretary of defense, they have a lot of nice things would go along with having those jobs come, and along with those nice things like limousines and ticket service also goes the responsibility and accountability to the american people. so far, as was pointed out by my two colleagues, we have seen deputy secretaries help responsibility. what did the president know? what was he doing?
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what did the secretary of state know before, during, and after, because the american people are clearly deceived after the murder of these four brave americans for an incredibly long period of time, and inexplicably long period of time. >> i would point out -- we should look at the organizational chart. i was looking at who was interviewed and who was not. we talk about people do in terms of resignation here and below them are where the administration's leads are. the questions are fair to say, when we have an issue of that importance of securing our consulate and you go up the chain of command, what was informed? was there information up the chain of command? if that did not happen, that is an important question, because in order to make a decision on what our security footprint was,
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these people need information, but also if that did not go up the chain of command, why were there no action is taken? it is fair to question to make sure that not only what happened within the state department, but across the agency here, this is an issue where it is important that not only was it within the secretary of state, but also the department of defense. we have made a request for chairman leaven for hearing. we made that request this morning so we can have a full hearing before the committee to find out why we did not have military assets in place and what the thinking was there. >> you mentioned there will be a new defense secretary, your friend and colleague. sorry, secretary of state. i was wondering if you and the
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other senators could reflect on the wisdom of that appointment at how easy this confirmation process coming out? >> we believe the president's by virtue of winning the election should have the right to pick people that he wants. if those individuals we do not agree with philosophically, that is not the criteria. the criteria is whether that person is qualified and will do that job that fits the responsibility they are given. we have known john kerry for many years. we have confidence in john kerry's ability to carry out the job. i would also like to emphasize our job is advice and consent, and the nomination process in the hearings and votes are what really matters. >> i think senator kerry was a very solid person for the
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president. he knows most of the world leaders. when he goes to a country he will be a known quantity. i have disagreed with him on a lot of policy choices, but i think he will be a very solid choice. about nominations, i have a good record i think of providing advice and consent. sometimes not in my political best interest. my problem with some of the names being floated for secretary of state is i did not know our country was going to be well served by people i did not trust. susan rice -- to get to the heart of the matter -- i did not question her character or patriotism -- i thought she was eager to tell the story that did not make a lot of sense. we cannot have that. i really do believe that not mentioning al qaeda be involved
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and saying cockeye that was decimated was not appropriate. i believe to tell the american people the consulate was strongly substantially secured was by all means not appropriate. i believe this is just this thing was other than a terrorist attacks was a political narrative. i want somebody to ask secretary clinton, why did you not go on on 16 september? when the investor said secretary clinton was not available because she was sick and getting grief counseling, i do not think that withstands scrutiny. i knew she is really till now. i am curious as to how that happened. that is a big deal. remember abu ghraib? it was a complete, absolute failure of managing a jail. you had a jail flooded with prisoners and other qualified guards, and it was a national
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nightmare. i did not ask for rumsfeld to resign, because he is thousands of miles away, he accepted responsibility because it happened on his watch, but we learned from abu ghraib, they are stonewalling care. the are not getting the information that is available to make intelligent decisions. we do not have the cables coming from libya and back to washington on the day in question. we still did not have the fbi interview. the president said he would be transparent and cooperate, and the american people would learn what happened. we did not know anything about what he did. he gets angry responses and he does not explain his leadership as commander in chief, before, during, and after. that will not stand. >> your views about some of your hagel?
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>> i have known senator hagel for years. i appreciate his service in vietnam. i am concerned about many of the comments that he made and has made, like reference to a jewish lobby, which i did not believe exist. i believe a pro-israel lobby exists, and i think many of those comments and other positions that he has taken will be the subject of the senate armed services committee, and i will look forward to asking those questions and getting his responses. >> you mentioned the marines that would be increased for embassy security. what other measures the you think the department should use
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to increase that footprint and -- >> that is why we just asked for the hearing with the secretary of defense. >> you also mentioned the al qaeda influence in the post-gaddafi term. you think that type of infiltration into those forces sets the stage for a similar instance to happen if and when assad falls in syria? >> it depends on whether we assist or not. the syrian people are not only fighting against assad, but are angry against the united states. people talk about how the syrian people do not understand why we'll will not help them, and they are anchored and embittered. that will dictate a lot of their attitude and our involvement
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with syria after assad goes. that will be dictated what happens in syria whether they believe we have been of assistance to them or not pick in libya, but they believe we assisted them or showed that appreciation. meanwhile, we took a hike with a light footprint and let all these things develop. i think it depends if we ever have the moral courage, which we are clearly lacking, and assisting the syrian people throw off the yoke of this brutal dictator. we hear again there are now cluster bombs being used. scud missiles. i ask the question that i asked secretary panetta well over a year ago, when about 7000 had been killed -- how many have to die before we're willing to
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intervene? how many have to die before we will establish a safe zone, get humanitarian aid to them, and arms and weapons they need? the latest evidence is that meters humanitarian aid or other assistance is getting through to the syrian resistance with any significant amount. >> this is a good question. my concern is libya is exhibit a of an overall failed strategic policy by the obama administration handling the arabs spring. dealing with what i think is the rise of islamic terrorism throughout the region. what happens when gaddafi failed, we allow the situation to deteriorate, and rice and clinton spoke about intervening. that is something to put in the plus column, and they pushed the administration to get involved and not let benghazi be overrun by gaddafi. happens is when you do not get involved you allow the situation
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to go on long car and it allows extremist groups to have a larger say. what happened in libya is the extremists lost at the ballot box, but in benghazi there was no libyan government to deal with the militia groups, pro and con, and the groups we were relying on were unreliable. the al qaeda militia groups were growing in strength. i worry about iraq. i worry that we fumbled the ball inside the 10-yard line. the surge did work. it did work. we have political progress and an increasingly good security environment. we have no troops in iraq today. i believe before long there will be a fight between the kurds and the arabs, and i were about our diplomats in iraq, and i think allowing syria to do it the way that has become a contagion in the region, it is a strategically important decision we make about syria because iran
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is watching. every day we allow assad to stand is the day the iranians believe we are less than serious about stopping their nuclear program. i'm worried about the conditions that as it exists in syria. >> your support early on for the no-fly zone. when of the individuals who also stood with you on that with senator kerry. i am wondering about your views on whether he has been a proponent of more aggressive approaches than president obama? >> by you on whether senator kerry not be based on differences on views. we had differences going back to 1991.
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i think senator kerry was good in libya. i think he should have had a much more vigorous stance toward syria. >> could you comment on the actions of the house yesterday? >> i would like to see the president get off the campaign trail and sit down the leaders of the house and senate. the american people deserve us to work all together and prevent this cliff. this is already upsetting the markets, understandably, and i think it is time to stop the rhetoric and step together the way ronald reagan and tip o'neill did, the way clinton did with bob dole, and newt gingrich. there is a long history of this. it means people getting into a room and preventing what we all
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want to prevent, and if we share the same goal, there should be a way for us to reach it. i am sorry that the house yesterday was unable to pass that the resolution, which was obviously a rebuke to their leader, but hopefully over their recess, when the come back after christmas, there will be cooler heads prevail in, and the president will begin serious negotiations. >> coming up the national rifle associates. followed by reaction to the nsm r.a. briefing from senator democrats. later, education secretary talks about safety in schools.
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tomorrow on "washington journal" we'll look at the so-called fiscal cliff. with "washington times" political editor. our guest is steven moore with "the wall street journal" leek then a look back at the columbine shooting. with the author of "columbine". >> if you work for them you would get a sometimes generous, sometimes overbearing, sometimes almost cruel boss. he didn't know how to apologize. which men of his age and class, they are not going to apologize to a young private secretary
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typist and he had a way of, sort of turning the tables and his version of an apology would be to say i'm a kind man and you are doing a good job today. but the issue was never settled. he always had to get the last word in. one night going through white hall a german bomb fell nearby and he should not have been out at all. his bodyguard pushed him into a doorway and a couple of his men were slightly wounded. churchill did not like to be touched. he said thompson, don't doe that. he said you should not be out here. he said i'm only doing this because i know you love to. reid was chosen to complete the final volume of the third voolyume of "churchill's last
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lion" sunday night on c-span's q&a. >> the national rifle association severe and c.e.o. wayne lapierre called for arm police officers in schools following the shooting in newtown, connecticut. the pro gun organization also announced it is developping a school shield emergency response program aimed at securing schools. it will be headed by arkansas congressman. this is half an hour. >> i am dave keane, president of the national rifle association and i would like to welcome you
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to begin our discussion of the topic that has been on the minds of american parents across this country. that is -- what do we do about the tragedy of the sort that struck in newtown, conn. to avoid such events in the future? like most americans, we were shocked by what happened. like all americans, we have been discussing all of the various options that are available to protect our children and, at this point, we would like to share our thinking with you. to that purpose, i would like to introduce wayne lapierre, our executive vice president. at the end of this conference, we will not be taking questions but next week, we will be available to any of you who are
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interested in talking about these or other issues of interest. contact us, please, at that point, thank you very much. wayne? >> good morning. the national rifle association, 4 million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters joined the nation in outrage, grief, and earnest prayer for the families of newtown, conn. who have suffered such an incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime. out of respect for the families and until the facts were known, the nra has refrained from
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comment. while some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectably silent. now, we must speak for the safety of our nation's children. for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one, nobody, has addressed the most important precedent and the immediate question we face -- how do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works? the only way to answer that question is to face the truth. politicians have laws for gun-
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free school zones. they issue press releases bragging about them. they post signs advertising them. in doing so, they tell every insane killer in america that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk. how have our nation's morals gotten so far out of order? think about it -- we care about our money so we protect our banks with armed guards. american airports, office buildings, power plants,
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courthouses, even sports stadiums are all protected by armed security. we care about our president so we protect him with armed secret service agents. members of congress work in offices surrounded by capitol police officers. yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the american family, our children, we, as a society, leave them every day utterly defenseless. and the monsters of the world know it and exploit it. that must change now.
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the truth is -- >> stop killing our children. we've got to end the violence. we have to stop the killing. the nra is killing our children. they are the perpetrators of crimes. >> the truth is, that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine
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monsters, people that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them. they walk among us every single day. does anybody really believe that the next adam lanza not planning an attack on a school that he has already identified at this very moment? how many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame? from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to- wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave while provoking others to try to make their mark. a dozen more killers, 100? more?
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how can we possibly even guess how many? given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill. the fact is this -- that would not begin to address the much larger more lethal criminal class, killers, robbers, rapists, gang members who have spread like cancer in every community across our nation. meanwhile, while that happens, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40% to the lowest levels in a decade. so now, do to a decline and willingness to prosecute dangerous criminals, violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years.
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ed another hurricane, attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you've got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization. here is another dirty little truth that t media, try their best to conceal. there exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stokes violence against its own people. through vicious violent video games with names like bullet "storm," "and it theft auto,""mortal kombat," and "splatter house."
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here is one -- that is called kindergarten killers. it has been online for 10 years. how come my research staff can't find it and all of yours could not or didn't want anyone to know you had found it? add another hurricane, add another natural disaster -- we have flood -soaked sites out there. these are aired like propaganda loops every single day. 1000 music videos, and you all know this, portray life as a joke and they play murder -- portray murder as a way of life. then they all have the mayor of
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to call it entertainment. is that what it really is? isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography? in a race to the bottom, media conglomerate compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an even more toxic max of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes every minute, every day, every hour, of every single year. a child growing up in america today witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ribald age of 18.
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throughout it all, to many in the national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders, act as silent enablers if not complice it co- conspirators. rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize to gun owners. >> reckless behavior becoming from the nra. the nra has blood on its ads. the nra has blood on its hands. shame on the nra ban assault weapons now. ban on assault weapons now. stop killing our children. stop the reckless behavior of the nra. we need gun control now.
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>> rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonizes the gun owners, amplifies their cries for more laws, and fills the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action in all that guarantees the next atrocity is only a news cycle away. the media calls semi automatic firearms machine guns. they claims the civilian automatic firearms are used by the military. they tell us that the 223 round is one of the most popular calibers when all of these
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claims are factually untrue. they don't know what they are talking about. worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban or one more law imposed on peaceful lawful people will protect us where 20,000 other laws have failed. as brave and heroic and as self- sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms and as prompt and professional and well trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable, through no fault of their own, and able to stop it. as parents, we do everything we can to keep their children safe. is now time for us to assume responsibility for our schools. the only way, the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection.
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the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. would you rather have your 911 call briong good guy with a gun from a mile away or from one minute away? i can imagine the headlines, the shocking headline, they will print tomorrow. more guns, you will climb, is the nra answer to everything. your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools. since when did the gun automatically become a bad word? a gun in the hands of the sixth service agent protecting our
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president is not a bad word. a gun in the hands of the soldier protecting the united states of america is not a bad word. when you hear your glass breaking at 3:00 a.m. and you call 911, he will not be able to pray hard enough for a gun in that hands of a good guy to get there fast enough to protect you. so, why is the idea of a gun could win it is used to protect the president of our country or our police, but bad when it is used to protect our children in our schools? there are kids, they are our responsibility, and it is not
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just our duty to protect them, it is our right to protect them. you know, five years ago, after the virginia tech tragedy, when i said we should put armed security in every school, the media call me crazy. but what if, what if, when adam lanza star shooting his way into sandy hook elementary school last friday he had been confronted by qualified armed security? will you at least admit it is possible that 26 of little kids -- 26 innocent lives might have been scared that day? is it so abhorrent that you would rather continue to rest
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the alternative? is the press and the political talk in washington, d.c. so consumed by fear and hatred of the nra and american gun owners that you are willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is alone, unarmed, school principal left to surrender her life, her life to shield those children in her care? no one, no one, regardless of personal political prejudice has the right to impose that sacrifice. ladies and gentlemen, there is no national one-size-fits-all solution to protect our children.
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do know that this president zeroed out school planning grants in the last budget and scrapped secure our schools policing and grant in next year's budget. with all the foreign aid the united states does, with all the money in the federal budget, can't we afford to put a police officer in every single school? even if they did that, politicians have no business and no authority denying us the right, the ability, and the moral imperative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm. the national rifle association knows there are millions of qualified, active and retired police, active reserves, retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, security
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professionals, rescue personnel, and -- an extraordinary core of patriotic, trained and qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school. we could deploy them to protect our kids now. we can immediately make america's schools safer, relying on the brave men and women in america's police forces. you all know this, everyone the country knows this -- the budgets of our local police departments are strained and the resources are severely limited. their dedication and courage is second to none and they can be deployed right now.
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i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate what ever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation and to do it now. to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in january. before congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation, or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in america immediately deployed a production program proven to work and by that i mean armed security. right now today, every school in the united states should planned meetings with parents, school administrators, teachers, local authorities and draw upon every
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resource out there that is available, to erect a cordon of protection around our kids right now. every school will have a different solution based on its own unique situation. every school in america needs to immediately identified, dedicate, and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place right now. at the national rifle association, as america's preeminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years, we have 11,000 police training instructors in the nra ready, willing, and uniquely qualified to help. our training programs are the most advanced in the world. that expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and their children now. we did it for our nation's
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defense industry at military installations during world war two. we did it for very young kids with air safety program that is throughout the country in schools right now. we will do it again today. the nra will bring all its knowledge, all its dedication, and all its resources to develop a model national school shield emergency response program for every single school in america that wants it. from armed security to building design and access control, the information technology, student and teacher training, this multifaceted program will be developed by the very best experts in the field. former congressman asa hutchinson will lead the effort
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as national director of the national model school shield program with a budget provided by the nra of what ever scope the task requires. his experience as a united states attorney, director of the drug enforcement agency, and undersecretary of the department of homeland security will given the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed
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experts available in the united states of america to get this program up and running from the first day forward. if we truly cherish our kids more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and that security is only available with properly trained armed good guys. under asa's leadership our experts were make this program available to the world to protect their children at school and will make that program available to every single school in america free of charge. that is a plan of action that can and will make a real positive indisputable difference in the safety of our children and it will start right now. there will be a lot of time to talk and debate later. this is a time, this is a day for decisive action. we cannot wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. we cannot lose precious time debating legislation that will not work. we must not allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us. we must act now for the sake of every child in america.
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i call on every parent, i call on every teacher, i call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country to join with us and help create a national school shield safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense that is tested and proven to work. now, tell you more about the program, i would like to introduce the head of the effort, former u.s. congressman, former u.s. attorney before the western district of arkansas and former ad minister of the u.s. drug enforcement agency, the honorable congressman, asa hutchinson.
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>> one of the first responsibility is a learned of homeland security was the importance of protecting our nation's critical infrastructure. there is nothing more critical to our nation's well-being that our children safety. they are this country's future and our most precious resource. all understand that our children should be safe at school but it is also essential that the parents understand and have confidence in that safety. as a result of the tragedy in newtown, conn., this -- that conflicts across this nation has been shattered. assurance of school safety must be restored with a sense of urgency.
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that is why i am grateful that the national rifle association has asked me to lead a team of security experts to assist our schools, parents, and their communities. i took this assignment on one condition -- that my team of experts will be independent, and will be guided solely by what are the best security solutions for the safety of our children while at school. even though we are just starting this process, i envision this initiative will have two key elements -- first of all, it would be based on a model security plan, a comprehensive strategy for school security based upon the latest, most up- to-date, technical information from the foremost experts in their fields. this model security plan will serve as a template, a set of best practices, principals, and guidelines that every school in
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america can tweak as needed and tailor it to their own set of circumstances. every school and community is different. this model plan will allow every school to choose among its various components to develop a school safety strategy that fits their own unique circumstance whether it is a large urban school or a small rural schools such as we have an arkansas or anything we have in between. armed and qualified school security personnel will be one element of that plan but by no means the only element. if a school decides, for whatever reason, that it does not want or need armed security personnel, that is the decision to be made by the parents or the local school board at the local level. the second point i want to make is this will be a program that does not depend on massive funding from local authorities or the federal government.
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instead, it will make use of local volunteers serving in their own communities. my son was a volunteer with a local group called "watchdog dads" patrolled playgrounds and provided a measure of added security. president clinton initiated a program called "cops in school" but the federal response is not sufficient for today's path. police,they're retired retired military or rescue personnel, i think there are people in every community in this country it would be happy to serve if only someone ask them and gave them the training and certification is to do so. the national rifle association is the natural obvious choice to sponsor this program. their guns safety, hunter
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education programs have set the standard for well over a century. over the past 25 years, the eddie eagle and state program has taught over 26 million children that real guns are not toys. today child gun accidents are at the lowest levels ever recorded. school safety is a complex issue with those simple, single solution. but i believe trained, qualified armed security is one key component among many that can provide the first line of difference, as well as the last line of defense. again, i welcome the opportunity to serve as vital, potentially lifesaving effort. the jury much. -- thank you very much. >> thank you. as i indicated at the outset, this is the beginning of a serious conversation. we will not be taking questions today, but our public affairs officer is here. we will be willing to talk to
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anyone beginning on monday. a text of the speech are available at nra.org. i want to thank all of you for being with us and look forward to talking with you in answering any of your questions next week. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> next, the response to an criticized the national rifle association's remarks. they will take questions from reporters. this is 25 minutes. >> could afternoon.
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i am here with the senior senator from connecticut. we would like to make a few remarks and response to the national rifle association press conference this morning. this morning the and are a said that they wanted to have a conversation about security. i would like to respond to that call. if school districts want to hire armed security guards, i support that. that is a decision each school district should make. many school districts already have armed guards. 28,300 public schools, that is about one-third of all public schools have armed security staff. in fact, there were two are in the law enforcement officers who twice engaged the shooters at columbine. that did not prevent 15 from being killed and 23 wounded.
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copies of the investigative transcript with exactly what happened is a available at the back of the room. the blanket call to arms schools is really nothing more than a distraction. it is a delay tactic. it is a distraction from the availability of military-style assault weapons on the street, and our schools, used that malls, used at workplaces, use the movie theaters. they allow for death and destruction. it is a distraction from the large ammunition devices that allow shooters to expel 20, 30, 60, 100 and even more bullets. it is a distraction from how easy it is to purchase weapons at gun shows with no background checks at all. checks at all.

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